BOCCHERINI; HAYDN Las Passione
‘Even when not written out, a single bassoon is always present to double the basses. There was certainly no harpsichord or other continuo. No keyboard player is ever mentioned in the meticulously kept list of Boccherini’s players.’ So says Antonio de Almeida, editor of Doblinger’s Edition of Boccherini’s symphonies. Yet Erich Höbarth adds an obtrusive harpsichord to G522 (1792) which blurs some bass-lines and compromises the individual characters of all the movements. The instruction sempre sotto voce in the slow movement is ignored too. Less invasive continuo in only the outer-movement tuttis of the Cello Concerto, however, keeps the textures clean for Steffano Veggetti’s very superior control of his solo part.
Discretion recedes in Haydn’s C major Violin Concerto, where a cembalo is actually specified; but whereas Gottfried von der Goltz incorporates the harpsichord into the texture, Höbarth allows it to drive a prominently inflexible rhythm in the outer movements. And, excepting the slow movement, it’s in the limelight again for Haydn’s Symphony No 44, in which Höbarth, who directs rather than conducts, relies on its chattering presence. Ignore it if possible and you’ll hear a good if sometimes turgid performance; but the emotional confrontations in the music escape Höbarth, as they also do in Boccherini’s G522, an intense work from a composer once called ‘Haydn’s wife’.